Half of all companies say they are likely to take such defensive actions as cutting capital spending and laying people off if the U.S. government defaults on its obligations, a survey of 305 finance and treasury executives by the Association for Financial Professionals found.

They also said they might extend their payment cycle to vendors and would probably sell their Treasury securities.

Fifty-two percent said that in the event of a default, they expect access to capital to become harder and more expensive for their companies.